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Ye desired a murderer to be granted unto you, and killed the Prince of life.-ACTS iii. 14, 15.
INTROD Killing' not literal. Four soldiers. Uriah killed by David and the Ammonite's sword: So Christ by the Roman spear. Sin is the true cause.
I. We have desired a murderer to be granted to us. 1. Barabbas within, who hath made insurrection against God, superiors, conscience, law, gospel.
2. Who hath committed murder on our souls and bodies, and on those of others. Yea, Christ himself has been stabbed.
Sin is the butcher of mankind, subtle poison, sharp dagger, envenomed dart. It brings lethargy, and spiritual death, grieves and drives the Author of life, gilds the pill, sweetens the cup, comes in disguise, lets in a troop.
II. How our sins have particularly murdered Christ and us.
Priests, Magistrates, people, pursue him to the garden; bound by the chain of our sins. We wander ; He is led captive. We execute; He is silent. We shut our eyes; He is blindfolded. We pamper the flesh; He sweats blood, and agonizes. We seek ease; He faints under the cross. We are proud; He is crowned with thorns, and naked. We abuse our hands and feet; He is pierced. We are intemperate; He thirsts, and hath vinegar and gall. We are unclean ; He is bathed in blood. We are impatient; He was railed at. We are accursed by the law; He was upon the tree. We are hard-hearted; His heart was pierced. We are careless; He had strong cries and agonies.
Particularly, envy of priests, covetousness of Judas, fear of Pilate, condescension of the multitude, in submitting to priests and elders, (Matt. xxvii. 20,) backbiting and slander, lies and wrong construction of wit
III. Christ is the Prince of life.
"The Resurrection and the Life.' (John xi.) "The Way, the Truth, and the Life.' (John xiv. 6.) In him is the water of life.' (Rev. xxii.) He that hath the Son hath life.' (1 John v.) might have life,' &c. (John x.) to me,' &c. (John v. 40.)
in me.' (Gal. ii.)
I am come that they
'Ye will not come I live not, but Christ lives
Christ our life.-He is the Giver and Preserver of spiritual and animal life. He breathed the breath of lives,' upholds it, will restore it.
INFERENCES.-1. Aggravation of. Killed a Prince: That of life.
2. Condescension of Christ, and the worth of his death. He is the Prince of life and life itself.
3. Certainty of his resurrection, and power to raise the dead.
APPLICATION.-Desire no more the murderer. Pursue him in public and secret. Plot against him, day and night. Find, bind, drag. Not only bind, spit, strike, crucify, but kill and pierce Delilah through the heart. Repent, as David. (Psalm li. 6.) Wash in the blood..
2. Mourners.-Rejoice. Jesus lives and pardons. Thirst. Begin at Jerusalem. (Luke xxiv. 47.)
John truly baptised with water: But ye shall be baptised with the HOLY GHOST, not many days hence. -ACTS i. 5.
INTROD.- Last Words of our Lord. Dispensation of John Baptised with water, not in.
I. Use of John's water.-Baptism.
1. A sign of universal pollution, from the womb.Repentance.
2. Acknowledgment of guilt, and need of pardon. 3. Acknowledgment of corruption and need of holiness.
4. Profession of thirst after refreshing comfort.
5. Profession of helplessness.-None baptised themselves.
6. Profession of cleansing the outside.
II. Insufficiency of John's Baptism.
1. Material water cannot cleanse the soul.
2. It is not saving.-Witness Simon Magus. 'You shall be baptised,' &c.
3. The water flows off, dries up: The effect superficial.
4. The testimony of John himself: I indeed.' 5. The declaration of Christ in the text.
III. General necessity of the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
1. All tainted with original sin.-Must be born again. 2. All guilty. Must be pardoned.—(Act. ii. and x.) 3. All unholy.-Must be sanctified.- Catechism. (Rom. viii.)
4. The corruption is spiritual and deep. Fire refines
5. All are miserable, and need the Comforter and kingdom.
6. All helpless and Christless till then. If any man,' &c.
7. All are unfit for heaven and bliss, without love, melting, uniting.
8. Particular necessity for ministers :-To preach the word with power.-To bear up under troubles, and persecutions. To be directed into all truth, and to testify of Jesus, though not to work miracles and speak with tongues.
'Not many days hence.' When prepared with prayer and faith, united in one accord and tried.-The day is not fixed, that we may expect daily and yet not faint.
APPLICATION.-1. Unconverted.-Rest in no baptism, but that of the Holy Ghost and fire. Water-baptism will condemn you alone.
2. John's disciples.-Promised, the thing promised, the time. O continue praying with one accord!
3. Believers. You want fresh Baptism, till the Holy Ghost, which is grace, fill your soul.
Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion, put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem.-ISA. lii. 1.
I. A description of Zion and Jerusalem.
1. Asleep, in the dust.
2. Without strength.
4. Captives. Bands on neck.-(v. 2.)
5. A thoroughfare for the uncircumcised and unclean. 6. Sold by themselves for nought.
H. The first command."
'Awake, awake!'-Deep sleep is a great danger. Open the eyes of thy understanding. Dream no more. Be no more idle. Hear, rise, shake thyself from the dust, from the sleep of sin, ignorance, death. Awake by the trumpet of Sinai, the groans of Calvary, those of dying neighbours, the last trumpet; or now by the Gospel trumpet.-Awake to-night, and sin not."Shake off thy sin,' &c.
III. The second command.
'Put on thy strength.'-Put on Christ, who is the mighty God. (Isa. xlv. 24; John xv ; Rom. v. 6.) 'The Lord will be the strength of Israel.' (Joel iii. 16.) 'Strength made perfect when weak.' (Rom. viii. 3; 2 Cor. xii. 9.) Wait, renew their strength. (Isa. xl. 31.) Sampson :-'Tell me wherein thy strength lieth.' Believe in the Lord, thy strength. Lay hold on it. Thy Jesus gave himself, was weak for us. Use thy strength in shaking, rising, fighting, believing, praying, pulling down strong holds; break thy bonds.
IV. The third command.
'Put on thy beautiful garments :'-Innocency, righteousness, true holiness. Joshua and [his] filthy garments. (Zach. iii. 4.)-Robe of the elder brother, Esau. -Best robe for the prodigal.-Beautiful in the eyes of the law, of God, of men, of angels. Put on Christ, the Lord thy righteousness. Tear not that garment. Walk in white. Stand with the redeemed, with robes washed in the blood. Go to court. Go work for thy God. Be clothed with humility. Patch not the old garment. Obtain the wedding-garment. Spread thy garment in the way.-Dyed garment from Bozrah. (Isa. Ixi. 10.)
APPLICATION.-1. The ungodly.-Awake, before hell awakes you.-God will put on his strength.-You cannot withstand him—-naked you are before an all-infinite power.
2. Mourners.-Christ your strength, righteousness, is very near.-Put him on.-See Jesus, naked, fainting, dying,rising, &c.-The sword awoke the shepherd, &c.